February 23, 2015
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
The Selfless Servant
He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the streets.
A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench.
His Master’s Honor
It would indeed be a rare believer who, when speaking for God, even at his or her best moment and with the purest of motives, did not become aware of a nagging and ever present “self-awareness” monitoring the effect it has upon the listener. “How is this being received?” “Do I sound good?” “Am I making the right impression?”
Self-awareness, self-advancement, and “self” are our most painful companions as we serve the Lord. We can all look forward to a day when “His servants shall serve Him” without the baggage we now carry with us from our Adamic natures.
There was one Servant, and only one, Who never had a self-centered thought or motive. His days never ended with escaping into the presence of God to confess failure or disappointment with Himself. When He spoke for God, it was not His voice which was heard. There was never an interest in drawing men to Himself for the sake of His honor or glory. When He invited men to come to Him it was for the purpose of becoming a worshiper of the Father (John 4), of knowing God, and having peace. It was always His Master’s honor that He sought. We cannot identify in any way with a Servant Who had no thought of His honor or reputation. We can only worship in light of such a One.
This chapter mentions “cry” (vv 2, 13, 14) a number of times; and while they are all different words in the original, they remind us that He will not “cry” to attract men to Himself; but a day will come when He will cry and prevail against His enemies.
His Master’s Heart
The perfect Servant not only served for His Master’s honor, but, in serving, revealed His Master’s heart as no other servant had ever done. The bruised reeds of earth, those who were living under the weight of failure and flawed service for God, He lifted to usefulness again. The dimly burning wicks about to give up in their race, He fanned into bright testimonies again.
It is natural for those who are “successful” servants to become judgmental and to look down on those who have faltered in the way. But not this Servant. Those who are shining brightly for God often tend to discount those who have been less faithful or are flickering out. This Servant, in contrast, brought the flame to full luster. He could take a broken Peter and return him to useful service; in fact, returning him to a level of service he did not enjoy prior to this. He could take the obstinate unbelief of Thomas (John 20) and trim the dying embers of faith until they blazed into rapturous worship.
All of this skill, this empathy and tenderness, was a reflection of the heart of God. Here is how God deals with the weakness and infirmity of His servants. He attracted men to His Master; He restored men to His Master. Little wonder God could say, “Behold My Servant!”
- Can you think of other occasions when the bruised reed and dimly burning wicks of earth were handled in an expert manner by Him?
- There were occasions in the Gospels where the Lord did cry. Look at some of them and consider what He said and to Whom He was drawing men.